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Impeach Supreme Court justices? NC hasn’t done it since the start of the Jim Crow era
N&O // Lynn Bonner // August 22, 2018

Summary: State GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse put Democrats on the Supreme Court on notice last week that they could face impeachment if they decide against Republican leaders in a lawsuit over constitutional amendments. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is suing to keep two proposed amendments off the ballot, arguing the language is misleading. The state NAACP and environmental groups want to keep four questions off the ballot that the legislature placed there. A three-judge panel ordered two of the amendments off the ballot this week. Legislative leaders are appealing to the state Court of Appeals and the NAACP is appealing to the state Supreme Court. It’s not often party leaders talk about impeaching justices, but it has happened before. Republican Chief Justice David Furches and Associate Justice Robert M. Douglas were impeached in 1901. The state Senate acquitted them, and the justices remained on the bench. Votes of two-thirds of the senators present are needed for a conviction.

After court loss, legislators might holdsession to rewrite ballot questions
N&O // Colin Campbell, Lauren Horsch // August 22, 2018

Summary: After a loss in court Tuesday, legislative leaders are considering a special session to rewrite ballot questions for two proposed constitutional amendments, a spokesman for Senate leader Phil Berger confirmed to the NC Insider on Wednesday. A three-judge panel sided Tuesday with Gov. Roy Cooper, who had sued to stop two amendments that would shift many of the governor’s appointment powers to the legislature. The 2-1 ruling found that the questions on the ballot would mislead voters about the true impacts of the amendments.

NC just had another election law ruled unconstitutional, this time over ‘sore losers’
N&O // WIll Doran // August 22, 2018

Summary: For the second time this month, a new state law targeting individual candidates running for office this November has been found unconstitutional. The state’s newly formed Constitution Party and three of its candidates won a victory in federal court Wednesday morning, when a judge ruled that they must be on the ballot this fall despite a law that the state legislature passed earlier this summer taking their names off the ballot. That follows a victory in state court for Chris Anglin, a state Supreme Court candidate whose campaign had been targeted by a different law seeking to stop him from having his Republican Party affiliation listed on the ballot. Anglin switched parties before running, and Republican officials say he is a Democratic plant, although he insists he’s a legitimate conservative. Republican legislative leaders Sen. Phil Berger and Rep. Tim Moore are appealing their loss in that case, arguing the law they passed affecting Anglin — and at least one other candidate, for a lower-level judicial seat — was constitutional.
NC Gov. Roy Cooper joins negotiations over UNCA dorms deemed unsafe
Citizen-Times // Alexandria Bordas // August 22, 2018

Summary: Gov. Roy Cooper's office has joined talks over fire safety concerns at five newly built apartment-style dorms at UNC Asheville. North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey said he met with representatives from Cooper's office for a second time Wednesday and discussed ways to streamline communication with the State Construction Office. The Department of Insurance and State Construction Office have differed over whether the buildings are safe. "I talked to Cooper to bring him up to speed on everything that has happened and he shared my concerns in regards to student safety," Causey said in an interview Wednesday.

Gov. Cooper to seek federal disaster aid for western counties
WNCT // AP // August  22, 2018

Summary: North Carolina's governor says he'll keep seeking federal aid for more than a dozen western counties damaged by flooding, landslides and mudslides in the spring. Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday his office will appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency's decision to deny his request for a major disaster declaration for 13 counties. A FEMA declaration would open the door for funds for affected people and communities. The agency's director declined to provide aid, in part saying state and local governments could handle the damage caused in May.

Democratic Women aid teachers with school supplies event
Winston Salem Chronicle // Staff // August 23, 2018

Summary: The Forsyth County Democratic Women held a Teachers’ Appreciation and school supplies event on Thursday, Aug. 16, at Bolton Park. Nearly 100 people attended and enjoyed pizza and desserts provided by West End Gelato and Dewey’s Bakery. Several candidates running for office attended the event: Denise “DD” Adams, a Winston-Salem City Council member who is running for U.S. House, District 5; John Motsinger Jr., N.C. Senate District 31; a representative for Terri LeGrand, N.C. House, District 74; Tonya McDaniel, County Commissioner District A; Bobby Kimbrough, Jr., Forsyth County Sheriff; and School Board candidates Deanna Kaplan, at-large; Elisabeth Motsinger, at-large; Malishai Woodbury, District 1; Marilynn Baker, District 2; and Rebecca Nussbaum, District 2.




Constitutional Amendments 

NAACP files appeal to state Supreme Court; federal court rules for Constitution Party on ballot; NCGA might hold special session
Progressive Pulse // Melissa Boughton // August 22, 2018

Summary: The North Carolina NAACP filed an appeal this morning to have the state Supreme Court reverse a three-judge panel’s decision to allow two constitutional amendments to move forward to the November ballot. The Superior Court panel issued a 2-1 decision yesterday that two amendments dealing with the separation of powers would be struck from the ballot but that two amendments dealing with voter identification and an income tax cap could proceed. Gov. Roy Cooper and the NAACP, along with Clean Air Carolina, filed lawsuits challenging the ballot language for the four amendments, alleging the questions would mislead voters. Lawmakers could also appeal the decision with regard to the two amendments judges struck from the ballot, but they have not done so yet. House GOP lawmakers reportedly held a conference call this afternoon to consider a special session Friday to redraft language for the two amendments the judges blocked, which would mean they could bypass an appeal to get them back on the ballot. If they were to draft new language, it would require 72 passing votes in the House and 30 in the Senate — then it would skip the Governor’s desk and go straight back to the ballot. The three-judge panel has already stated in its order it does not want to oversee the redrafting process.

Fact check: Amazon and Apple are already in states with voter ID laws, group says
News & Observer // Rashaan Ayesh // August 22, 2018

Summary: With three top research universities a half-hour drive from one another and the well-established Research Triangle Park, the Triangle area is increasingly attractive to large corporations. That’s why it’s on Amazon’s short list as a possibility for a second headquarters. Apple CEO Tim Cook may have had the same thing in mind when he met with Gov. Roy Cooper to discuss a possible new project. Talk of the two tech giants coming to North Carolina has sparked pushback from advocacy groups. The Color of Change, an online racial justice organization, launched a campaign telling these companies to stay away from North Carolina because the state’s November ballot will ask voters whether to approve a constitutional amendment creating a voter ID requirement. No Gay No Way, a Washington-based campaign, is against Amazon putting a second headquarters in any state with discriminatory policies against the LGBTQ community, and the organization lists North Carolina as one of those states.

Election Security

Partisan feud derails election security bill
Politico // Eric Geller, Martin Matishak // August 22, 2018

Summary: A bipartisan bill meant to secure future U.S. elections against foreign meddling suffered a major setback Wednesday after Republicans pulled support from the measure. A dispute over the Secure Elections Act boiled down to whether Congress should compel more states to use paper-based audits — a safeguard that election integrity advocates say would help ensure vote tallies weren't tampered with or altered. The delay by the Senate Rules Committee angered Senate Democrats who said the bill is critically important for states to have the necessary safeguards in place to protect elections from foreign interference.


CFPUA maps out plan to spend state funds
Star News // Adam Wagner // August 13, 2018

Summary: Using funds allocated in the state budget, Cape Fear Public Utility Authority will study mobile treatment options for removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from water. Designed for periods of high use, CFPUA’s aquifer storage and recovery site (ASR) takes water from the Sweeney plant, drains it into the Upper Peedee Aquifer and stores it for later. But since water came from the Sweeney plant, which a study has shown could not filter out GenX, the contaminants were injected into the aquifer. The N.C. General Assembly’s updated state budget bill allocated $450,000 to CFPUA to sample water at the ASR site and Sweeney Water Treatment Plant, as well as testing temporary ion exchange and carbon treatment systems. On Aug. 8, the utility authority’s board endorsed staff’s plan to accomplish the study, which is designed for PFAS chemicals such as GenX. Jim Flechtner, CFPUA’s executive director, said, “What we want to investigate is whether there’s a mobile technology we can just bring in there and set up at the well site and pull the water from the ground and treat it before we put it in the distribution system without making permanent improvements to the site.”

School Safety 

You will face criminal charges for making a school threat, FBI warns
N&O // T. Keung Hui // August 22, 2018

Summary: With more than 1 million North Carolina public school students starting a new school year next week, the FBI is teaming up with police and school districts to warn about the consequences of posting school threats on social media. Hoax school threats flooded the country following the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February, escalating a climate of fear and uncertainty among students, parents and school employees. At news conferences, Wednesday in Raleigh and Charlotte, law enforcement officials and school officials warned that it’s not a joke to make a threat.

Health Care 

Blue Cross, UNC Health deal will cut rates — and could change health care for all
N&O // Richard Stradling // August 21, 2018

Summary: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina says premiums paid by Affordable Care Act customers in the Triangle will decrease more than 21 percent on average next year because of a new partnership with UNC Health Care. The two not-for-profit companies say the partnership changes the incentives for providing health care and could serve as a model for other health insurance programs in the state and beyond. Under the arrangement, the insurance company and the health care provider will both be equally responsible for the quality and cost of care, said Blue Cross President and CEO Patrick Conway. “We no longer want to be in an adversarial relationship,” Conway said in an interview.

Confederate Monuments 

‘Proud to be a student here.’ Without Silent Sam, will UNC have a fresh start?
N&O // Andrew Carter // August 22, 2018

Summary: On the day after Silent Sam fell, there was still a small hole in the dirt where his head collided with the earth, and his empty pedestal attracted a steady stream of people who came to see a new kind of history. The statue, a monument built to honor the UNC-Chapel Hill students who’d died and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, had stood atop that pedestal for 105 years. Now, on Tuesday, the pedestal stood by itself, adorned in the late afternoon with posters with names written on them in bold black letters. The names on those posters recognized some African-American students who’d broken color barriers at UNC: the first black student to enroll in the university’s medical school and the first three to enroll as undergraduates. The names also included James Lewis Cates, a black man murdered by white supremacists on the UNC campus in 1970, and Maya Little, a doctoral history student at the university and an outspoken activist who’d called for Silent Sam’s removal. In April, Little smeared a mix of red paint and her own blood on the statue.

Keep Confederate monuments in Raleigh, state commission recommends
N&O // Lynn Bonner // August 22, 2018

Summary: A state commission recommended Wednesday that three Confederate monuments stay on the state Capitol grounds. The North Carolina Historical Commission wants more information added around the statues about the Civil War and the struggle to overcome slavery. It’s also recommending new statues on the Capitol grounds recognizing contributions from African-Americans. The recommendations, in response to a request by Gov. Roy Cooper, come just days after demonstrators toppled Silent Sam, the Confederate statue at UNC-Chapel Hill. The statue fell after years of controversy, protests and appeals to university officials to take it down. 

Two days after protesters tear down Silent Sam, state commission balks at removing Raleigh Confederate monuments
NC Policy Watch // Joe Killian // August 22, 2018

Summary: Two days after protesters forcefully removed the “Silent Sam” statue in Chapel Hill, a dramatic scene that fetched jeers from many state leaders and cheers from long-time Confederate statue critics, members of a key state commission voted against the removal of three similar monuments to Confederate soldiers in downtown Raleigh. The North Carolina Historical Commission voted 9-2 Wednesday against their removal, but only after a morning filled with hand-wringing and personal statements. “[G]iven the specific legislative prohibition against the removal of objects of remembrance, the Commission at this time is unable to recommend the removal or relocation of the three Confederate monuments because removal or relocation is not required to preserve these three monuments,” the committee’s resolution on the matter read. The commissioners took pains to say they believe the number and prominence of Confederate monuments on the State Capitol grounds both distort the history and causes of the war. They also noted the statues insult Black residents and other minorities, some of whom may be offended by their presence. Commission members called on Gov. Roy Cooper, the General Assembly and the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to mitigate that by providing signage to contextualize the statues and erect new ones that are more diverse and inclusive. 

Silent Sam Is Gone. While Activists Celebrate, Politicians Wring Their Hands About Mob Rule. 
IndyWeek // Cole Villena // August 22, 2018

Summary: On Monday evening, UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student Jerry Wilson hung a noose around his neck and vowed not to remove it until Silent Sam—the campus’s 105-year-old monument to students who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War—came down. At a rally called “Until They All Fall,” he encouraged the mostly white crowd of 150 to reflect on the university’s history of institutional racism. “If the act of wearing a noose around my neck seems extreme, then I encourage you to reflect upon the violent ideology of white supremacy to which Silent Sam is a monument,” Wilson said. “I also encourage you to consider the psychological violence enacted upon black students and its physical manifestations.” Wilson didn’t have to wait long. Silent Sam came tumbling down a couple of hours later, yanked from its foundation by a group of protesters whose cheers drowned out the sound of hundreds of pounds of metal hitting the ground. Students and alumni flooded social media with reactions to the monument’s collapse, most of them expressing relief that it was finally gone.

Our view: 'Silent Sam' had to go
Winston-Salem Journal // Editorial Board //
AUgust 22, 2018
Summary: Tired of all the thumb-twiddling, navel-gazing and shallow rationalizations by state lawmakers and university leaders, a group of protesters decided to take matters into their own hands in Chapel Hill on Monday night. So they hoisted ropes around the long-standing statue of a Confederate soldier and pulled it to the ground. “Silent Sam,” as he is called, has been a landmark on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus for more than a century, erected ostensibly to honor fallen Confederate soldiers. But many saw it instead as a statement of white supremacy, cast in stone and placed prominently in the university’s front yard on Franklin Street for all to see. As evidence, they point to the wave of Confederate monuments erected in North Carolina and elsewhere during the Jim Crow era of segregation and racial oppression. And they point specifically to some of the remarks made during Sam’s dedication in 1913 by Julian Carr. “I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal,” said Carr, a supporter of the Ku Klux Klan. “One hundred yards from where we stand, less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for 30 nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head.” It is, of course, true that Monday’s protesters violated the law and damaged public property. It also is true that their actions were dangerous and could have turned much uglier. But their cause was just, if not their methods. And it is easy to understand their mounting frustration and anger.

Trump Investigation and North Carolina 

'It is what it is': Republicans shrug off Trump's legal meltdown
Politico // Burgess Everett, Nolan D. McCaskill // August 22, 2018

Summary: Twenty-four hours after one of the most damaging days for Donald Trump’s presidency, the Republican wall of support around him shows no signs of crumbling. Though some GOP senators expressed discomfort with the plea deal reached by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and the guilty verdict rendered on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, there has been no seismic shift in the GOP after a bombshell Tuesday. Some Republicans attacked Cohen as not credible, some said Manafort’s conviction has nothing to do with Trump and others still said the matter doesn’t fall in their purview as senators. I’m not sure why that would change my support for the president,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) of the past day’s events. “He was elected by the American people. Short of impeachment or death, he’s the president.” Burr is overseeing the ongoing Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russia interference on the election, and he said on Tuesday his committee wants to speak to Cohen again. But there were no signs of the GOP Senate starting up new probes looking into Cohen’s statements on Tuesday implicating the president in payments made before the election to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal.

High crimes and misdemeanors: Veteran journalist says Cohen guilty plea “calls into question the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency”
Progressive Pulse // Rob Schofield // August 22, 2018

Summary: John Nichols, the veteran national-affairs correspondent for The Nation magazine has a powerful and on-the-mark assessment of the guilty plea entered yesterday by Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen. He writes that it “calls into question the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency.” As Nichols points out, the 2016 election turned on about 80,000 votes in three states that shifted the electoral college to Trump. After noting that it’s entirely reasonable to assume that half or more of those voters might have shifted to Hillary Clinton if they had known “Trump began an affair with a Playboy model shortly after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son—and then bought the model’s silence..."


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